Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Running Water

Before I really begin this post, I would like anyone reading it take a moment and thank God for the little things that make life running water. In fact, that is the main thing I would like you to be thankful for. I mean, I would hope that you are grateful for a lot of other things too, but for now focus on that.

I have had the pleasure of helping George with trying to fix the pump for the water the last couple of days. It has been quite fun too.
I started helping last night, and it was a little messy. Out in the chicken coop, stepping in their poop while getting wet and trying to put everything together in a totally makeshift manner. It was like something right out of MacGyver. We were trying to connect some rubber hosing to the pump with plastic bags and rubber ties. We did it too, George is pretty good with all that kind of stuff. However, we didn't manage to get get the pump pumping water we didn't have water that night, which meant that I didn't get a shower. Go figure. I did at least get to wash my hands.

Then we went at it again this morning. Same deal, we didn't manage to fix it. Finally George said that if the plumber came we could fix it in no time. I was quick to have him call the plumber, and the rest of the travelers agreed. We had been without running water for around a day now. I'm not sure if the plumber actually showed up, but I do know that Fred came by and that in no time the water was back up and running.

However, there is still one catch. The pump pumps water from the well (at least I think it is some sort of well) to a tank above the roof, and then when the tank gets full there is supposed to be a way for the pump to stop electronically. The thing is, that doesn't work so when you hear water running out back, that means the tank is full and you need to turn the pump off. Then, once the tank is low you have to turn the pump back on. Sounds simple enough but there is a catch to that too.

If you simply turn the pump back on it won't suck water so here is what you have to do. You disconnect one of the hoses (which you will remember is tied on with Walmart bags and very stretchy rubber), siphon water until it is coming through the end of the pipe that is connected to the pump, then with the water still running connect the pipe again. That is a royal pain. And you have to do that at least once a day, probably twice. In fact, George and I are going to do it tomorrow morning. That aught to wake us up nicely.

So, all that is just to say, be grateful for dependable, running water. And take the time to come down here so that you can get an idea of what life would be like with no running water. We are lucky enough to not have to walk very far when our water cuts off, but it does give an idea of some of the difficulties facing people who don't have running water.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Jail bird

Well, today George went to jail.

There was some kind of mix up with the water bill, so George went to talk to his agent and get him to handle the whole thing. However, the agent failed to show up to the court date and represent George, and George was trusting the agent to handle it so he didn't show up either. So, since he missed his court date and he had no representation they put out a warrant for his arrest. He found out last night, so it was a little late for him to do anything about it.

So George and I got up early and headed out at eight to the court house to let them know that George has been paying for his water, and hopefully get them to revoke his arrest warrant.

After waiting for about half an hour, we finally went in to the court so we could wait for another half an hour for them to address Georges case. Finally, George took the stand and they read him his charges. I think the only thing was not paying his water bills, but due to the wording and the African accent, I couldn't tell if there was something else. When they asked him if the charges were true or not, he said they were not true. Then without asking anything else, they sat him down for a couple of minutes then walked him out. I thought he would be coming right back in, so I stayed where I was. Then I noticed one of the other Africans waving at me. I looked at him and he pointed outside. I got up and looked out the door. Across the yard one of the guards was closing and locking the door to the cell of the jail, and George was standing inside. They both beckoned to me, so I headed over, wondering what was going on. George wanted me to pay his bail, 5000 kenyan shillings. He gave me the money, but as I went to find out where I was supposed to pay, the guard came walking back, unlocked the door, and and let George out.

It turns out that Nellie's sister, who works as a clerk there and who had been talking to George trying to help him work the whole thing out, had gotten him out without us having to pay the bail, and got him a new court date. I'm not sure exactly when it is, but I think it might be on the same day that we are supposed to be leaving, so I don't know how that will all work out. So we are really grateful for Nellie's sister, who helped us out a lot.

So that was the exciting experience for today. I hope you all had something exciting in your own day, but if you didn't then try to picture mine and have that make up for it. I can only imagine how George felt. Hope you are all having a good time. Miss everyone.

Anyway, that was a pretty exciting experience.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Odds and ends

I thought I'd take the time to post about the few odds and ends that I've seen while here. I think that a couple of the people have already, but I haven't so here I go.

Probably one of the biggest things that stood out to me was the smells. A lot of the air smells like camp fire smoke, and even occasionally like roasted marshmallows. Then there is the not so good smells. You can also run across places that smell strongly of second hand smoke and when riding in the car all you ever smell is exhaust. The blasted cars here put out so much exhaust it's unbelievable. I mean, it makes my eyes water sometimes and I'm not kidding. Then there is the smell of the people. This ain't America, folks, and the people don't invest in smelling good as much as we do. As a result, everyone smells like body oder. It isn't so bad when you just passing by them, or sitting near them in a meeting, but when thirteen people pile into a nine passenger van, things start to get rough. It's one of those things that you just have to keep getting used to every time it happens.

The second thing is the food. Most of the food we eat here is really good. Nellie makes this stuff called chipote (spelling?) which is sort of a flat bread almost. I don't really know how to describe it, but it is awesome if you put a little minced meat and vegetables into it. I love it. Then there is the ugali. While it is rather tasteless, it's a blast to play with. The idea is that you take a little bit in your hand, ball it up, flatten it out, then use it to pick up your food. Kind of like an edible spoon. It's kind of the consistency of refrigerated cream of wheat, but drier. I'll tell you, I could play with that stuff all day long. The only reason I eat it is to mush it around in my hand. It feels really cool. I don't really have time to list all the foods I liked, so if you really want to find out what all they eat you'll just have to come and see for yourself.
Then there is the not so good food. I'll tell you what, these people can't make American food. There is just something about an American hamburger that you just don't get in the burgers down here. Then there is the really not good food like goat intestine and little fish. The goat intestine wouldn't be too bad if you didn't know what you were eating and it didn't have an after taste. When I first put it in my mouth, it wasn't so bad. However, a couple of seconds after I started chewing it, it got a little bit of the flavor of what passes through it (actually I wouldn't know since I have never eaten that, but that is what I would compare it to) and that was pretty bad.

The other really big thing is the roads. I'm sure you all have heard about the condition of the roads and the way these people drive, but you can't really understand it until you have seen it for yourself. The lines on the road are meaningless. As long as there is no car heading directly at you, drive where ever you want, pass whenever you want and make sure not to hit anyone. There are no stop lights in town, so basically it's like driving with very little rules. If the people were like American drivers, there would be hundreds of deaths a day due to car accidents. You run into lots of creepy situations, but in the end the drivers here watch out for other drivers a lot more than American drivers, so we haven't had any devastating experiences yet.
The other thing that is really different about the driving is the condition of the roads. I'm sure that everyone who comes here posts on the roads some. They are awful. They have parts of the roads, lots of parts, that are as bad as Sandy Flat when it was at its worst. Then there are quite a few parts that are worse. They also have speed bumps that would shame the ones in RCV every so often down the main road, to discourage speeders. As a result, the drive to town is very stop and go. Just as you build up speed, you slow down to five miles an hour so that the van doesn't go airborne over the speed bump. Actually, to be honest, the van wouldn't go airborne. Abba did hit one without slowing down. Luckily it was one of the smaller ones otherwise really bad things could have happened.

So anyway, that ended up being a pretty long post, but I hope you enjoyed it. In the end this is a wonderful place, and I would recommend that all of the youth at least save some money and go to some third world country. It will change your perspective on life.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Thursday night's meeting

Ok...I got on to blog and forgot to mention the most important thing. Thursday we had an awesome meeting. After the day's violence, we really needed something from God, and He gave it to us. We had our meeting at a restaurant instead of the church building, (because then weather wouldn't have anything to do with how many people turned up) so we had a lot of the church there. After the singing, Abba taught about the difference between the sins of the body, soul and spirit again for the ones who had missed it. We had a visiting pastor there, and he was really inspired by the meeting. God really came and we were all touched. I think that everyone walked away encouraged. It really is amazing that God would take the time to reach down and comfort people like us, who really don't deserve it. I'm feeling very grateful.
Ok, sorry I haven't posted in a bit, but for some reason I just haven't felt like posting. Can't explain why, but I haven't.

Anyway, I believe Abba wrote about the violence already, so I won't cover that. However, if you haven't read his blog about it I strongly suggest you do. It would be good for you to get an idea of what happened.
Yesterday, Abba and George took the ladies to Migori, so it will be just the men (out of the group that came from home) here until Wednesday. Daniel also came yesterday, and talked today at church about the first miracle that Jesus did. He looked at it from a whole new perspective. I'd heard the story a thousand times, and I had heard a few different takes on it, so I thought that I knew pretty much everything to know about that one (for those of you who don't know that is the one where He turned the water into wine). Aside from the actual teaching being very good, it was also one more time of God showing me how little I know. I'm sure that you all already have a good idea of how little I know, but being a teenager, I tend to get that feeling that I know everything and can do anything. Who knows, I might grow out of that one day. Don't count on it though.
Tomorrow we are taking Daniel to Nairobi, so I'll get to go out there again. I'm looking forward to getting to spend the time with Abba, George and Daniel. They are all great men, and there is a lot that I can learn from them. Not to mention they are also all fun.
Keep praying for all of us, and that we would achieve everything that we want to do down here. While we have a lot we want to do with the youth, we don't see them every day, so it gets hard to make things happen. I'm sure that you all know how little you can accomplish by just talking in meetings and not following up the rest of the week. However, I think that all of these people want to make things happen, and they all care about God. And in the end we can do anything through God, so He will let us do something.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Well, tomorrow will be a little different from the other Tuesdays. George is going to try to get his visa tomorrow in Nairobi, so he and Abba are going to be gone for a lot of the day. Instead of leaving me the only guy in the house, they invited me to come along. I'm pretty excited. The first reason is that I will get to spend a lot of time with George and Abba, and the second reason is that I slept almost the entire way from Nairobi to here when we arrived, so I actually have never seen any of the landscape along that way, so this will all be a new experience for me.

So, now about today. We did five visits today, and they were all pretty good. We got some pretty good video, so hopefully we will be able to show you all these people. For me, it was one more time a reminder of just how blessed I am. A lot of these people have jobs, but the jobs don't really allow them to pay bills and eat three meals a day. So these people end up eating one meal a day, sometimes two, and it is usually the same thing every time. And yet they thank God for sticking with them. I have to wonder, would I be able to say the same thing if God had me eating one meal a day? I would hope yes, but I actually can't be sure.
What I am sure of is that seeing these people reminds me every day that I don't ever have a reason to complain, and I have every reason to wake up every morning thanking God for everything He has given me and keep that attitude throughout the day.

I know that that may sound a lot like what I said last time I posted about our visits, it is what God is showing me. I don't think that I can see too often that I need to be grateful, so I'm going to assume that it will help you all too. God bless you all, and thank you everyone who is praying for us. Your prayers are definitely appreciated and felt.

P.S. Today we found out a side of Amma that we haven't seen before, and I doubt that you have either. We all went shopping today, and we had to let make a stop at Tusky's (a super center here) that wasn't going to take much time. We couldn't find a very good place to park, so we just dropped the ladies off and drove around for about five minutes. When we came back by, there were the ladies, waiting with their groceries, so we picked them up.
They climbed in the car, closed the door, and set their stuff down. As Amma was setting down a pack of toilet paper, she suddenly gasped. "I don't think I paid for this", she said, turning red. As it turns out, she didn't pay for the toilet paper, so now Amma is a thief. :) Needless to say we didn't let her live it down the rest of the time in the car, and had a good time razzing her about the whole thing. She was pretty embarrassed. It was great.
And for those of you who have a problem with the fact that we didn't pay for toilet paper, I believe we are going to pay for it the next time we go back. Amma would like to save her reputation. :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ok, well, I woke up this morning feeling fine. I think what happened is I thought that my youthful body could handle more than it could and pushed myself a little too far. One of those teenage things that I'm sure I'll grow out of eventually.
I don't know if all of you know, but today is a really big day in Kenya. They are implementing a new constitution that is going to change a lot in Kenya. I don't really know exactly what all it does, but it is all over tv, and everyone seems to be excited. There are thousands and thousands of people at the event, and it has been labeled the party of the century. The tv channel we are watching it on has labeled it "Ushering in the new dawn" so it must be something really big. The president and other high officials will swear in today, so this is a historic event in Kenya. Thought you all might like to hear about that.
I don't think we have anything happening today other than a clan leaders meeting tonight, so today should be pretty relaxing. Amma had a headache when she went to bed last night and woke up with a slight one this morning. Don't really know how bad it is, but I'm sure she will be fine. She is a lot better at taking care of herself than I am. :)